News that Connecticut is leasing 30 year -old rail cars from Massachusetts which no longer meet federal safety standards to use on its Hartford - Springfield rail line would be comical if Connecticut taxpayers weren’t footing the bill.
Before lawmakers even consider raising the gas tax to fund transportation, they need to reassess how they spend existing transportation funds. Many of the state’s new projects offer little return on investment and represent a long-term maintenance cost. Lawmakers should focus on repairing the infrastructure we have rather than building new infrastructure we can’t afford. The latest payment for Connecticut’s rail line to Massachusetts makes the choices clear. The $155 million borrowed to pay for the new line almost exactly equals the $160 million needed for repairs to Metro-North’s New Haven line.
The cost of building a rail line between New Haven and Springfield, Mass., continues to rise, even as transportation needs in Fairfield County go unmet. At its most recent meeting, the State Bond Commission approved another $155 million for the railway line connecting New Haven, Hartford and Western Massachusetts.